A Different Kind of Pi Day – the U.S. Population Hits π x 100,000,000 | Smart News | Smithsonian
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A Different Kind of Pi Day – the U.S. Population Hits π x 100,000,000

The U.S. Census Bureau announced yesterday that our population has hit one of math's favorite landmarks

smithsonian.com

A crowd gathers in Times Square in 1945. Since then, we’ve added a few more people to the population. Image: Department of Defense

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that at 2:29 p.m. EDT yesterday the United States population reached 314,159,265. Does that number look familiar? Probably because it’s basically pi times 100,000,000.

The Bureau released an announcement of the milestone. “This is a once in many generations event … so go out and celebrate this American pi,” demographer Howard Hogan said in the statement.

Of course, this is an estimation. We don’t really know exactly when the 314,159,265th person was born. The Population Clock that the Census Department keeps is based on data they collect at each census. They explain on their site:

The projections are based on a monthly series of population estimates starting with the April 1, 2010 resident population from the 2010 Census. To produce the monthly postcensal national resident population estimates, the April 1 population count is updated by adding births, subtracting deaths, and adding net international migration since the census date.

Right now, they’re estimating a birth every eight seconds and a death every 14 seconds. Lots of other countries have these same kinds of clocks. In Canada, they estimate a birth every one minute and 21 seconds. In Australia it’s every 1 minute and 47 seconds. Each country uses these kinds of statistics to estimate things like taxes, future needs and the use of natural resources.

As Slate says, “God help us if our population ever hits Avogadro’s number…”

 

More at Smithsonian.com:
Happy Pi Day!
Six Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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